Sunday, January 21, 2018
News Roundup

Brooksville City Council sets priorities for road improvement projects

BROOKSVILLE — The Brooksville City Council voted Monday night to spend $800,000 to repair and reconstruct some of the city's worst streets.

The projects, identified through data collected from the city's recent pavement management study, range from the complete repaving of streets to the reconstruction of portions of the city's historic brick streets.

Public works director Richard Radacky said that his staff spent months identifying where best to target the money, which was included in this year's budget, and tried to include projects "geographically spread out" so that every area of the city would see some benefit. Roadways chosen include a mix of heavily traveled streets in poor condition and those where it was felt that aesthetic appeal should be preserved.

Council member Lara Bradburn called the plan a hopeful beginning for a city that hasn't spent much money on its streets in recent years.

"I think we have a solid start toward addressing some streets that we've known haven't been safe to drive on for quite some time," Bradburn said. "My hope is that we can continue the momentum as we go forward."

Concerns over the deterioration of the city's 39 miles of streets, as well as its sidewalks, hacw been an ongoing issue. But until the council decided to put $91,000 toward a pavement management study, no one knew how bad things were. Conducted by Civil Tech Engineering, the analysis painted a bleak picture, showing that most streets fell well below average condition and that it would cost the city about $7.4 million to bring them up to reasonable standards.

While the city normally budgets about $300,000 each year for road maintenance, this year's budget carries an extra $500,000 the council kicked in from red-light camera revenues. Radacky said the additional money enabled him to tackle sections of roads that have long been in need of repair, including parts of Chatman Boulevard, Brooksville Avenue and Veterans Avenue.

In addition, about $268,000 of the allotted money will go toward leveling and repairing about 800 feet of Bell Avenue, one of the city's oldest brick streets.

According to Radacky, the cost of repairing brick streets typically runs about three times what it costs for asphalt streets. Fortunately, he said, some of the repair costs will be recouped through the salvage of usable bricks from two existing streets that are due to be paved.

Bradburn, who has long supported preservation of the city's historic streets, said she hoped that saving the existing brick streets will continue to be a priority.

"We've had to learn the hard way that once you let them go away, it's very tough and very expensive to bring them back," she said.

Logan Neill can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1435.

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